Talk:Entheogen/Archive 1

Page contents not supported in other languages.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Use of Cannabis in Christianity

The article currently contains this passage:

But what is essential in Christianity is the concept of "The Anointed" or Christ or Messiah, for the priests at first, Levites first of all, instated by Moses himself, and then later for Kings, particularly Saul, David and Solomon, and of course Prophets. This anointing with the "holy chrism" is a practice that must not be open to laymen. The recipe of this "chrism" is given in Exodus 30:22-33 and it contains one element known has "Kanah bosm", that is to say the blooms of a plant that is today identified as cannabis. One reference is essential in that field, even if there are a few mistakes or fuzzy elements in it: Chris Bennett and Neil McQueen, "Cannabis and the Christ: Jesus used Marijuana" on

We are then no longer dealing with a metaphor like the apple in the Garden of Eden but with a real phenomenon that can be studied in details. GOD IS LOVE

—Apollodorus 1.34-38. 16:20, 12 November 2006 (UTC) Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, Université Paris Dauphine & Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne

A quick net search reveals that there's plenty of noise about this theory, but most of it has been propagated by extremely pro-marijuana sources. There may indeed exist a credible and objective source for this concept buried beneath the mountains of High Times and alt.cannabis articles out there, but the link cited is NOT adequate, and the text of the entry is anything but lucid. At the very least it should be rewritten, and until a credible source for the entry can be cited, it should probably be removed. Nbiehl 03:05, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

  • As just an idle browser on this page, I must agree that the entire section related to Christianity is baffling to me and, to be honest, reads like it was written by somebody under the influence. What exactly do Gilgamesh and Greek myth have to do with the possibility of entheogen use in Christian myth or history? The reference article goes a lot further than "fuzzy elements"; I don't find it readable in the least. I agree that this section should be removed if it's not going to be rewritten. 07:52, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

User says ("the term 'entheogen' is normally associated with advocates of psychoactive drugs") and that ("most of these substances are today considered to be illegal in most jurisdictions.")

Two things:

1. Something isn't "considered illegal." It either is illegal or it is not. A separate section on the law in regard to some of these substances would be appropriate; write one if you wish.

2. To pigeonhole the term with what is a thinly veiled point of view (that the term is associated with "advocates of psychoactive drugs") is not appropriate in an objective source.

OK. I buy your reasoning. Reverting myself (which recreated the text you deleted). --mav

For the record, there are many grey areas in the legal system with regards to entheogens. Much has to do with intent vs. actual legality of the substance or plant. There are quite a number of plants containing technically illegal substances that grow in people's back yards. One cannot be held responsible for every weed and mushroom that grows untended on their property. Likewise there are plants and mushrooms that are quite intoxicating, but fully legal to possess. Consumption for the purposes of intoxication is a grey area for some of these substances, but you're not likely to get in any serious trouble for ingesting them. Lastly, in a country such as the USA, the federal and state governments cannot agree on the laws for certain drugs -- i.e. cannabis. --Thoric 05:42, 20 December 2005

Broad sense of term

A quick note to justify my edit, in case Wetman is wondering... The strict and broad senses of the term were indeed defined in the original Ruck et al article, so it is not accurate to denigrate the broad use of the term as a euphemistic creation of pop culture. Use of the term in the broad sense by certain subcultures has indeed by criticised on those lines but IMO Ruck et al are as much to blame as anyone else for that. I hope I have use NPOV in my edit but if you disagree let's try to find a middle (middler?!) ground. Rkundalini 15:08, 17 May 2004 (UTC)

My recent edit can be further refined, I'm sure. But what does the following bit of case-pleading have to do directly with entheogen?: Non-religious drug use modalities ranging from spiritual to recreational to hedonistic, each subject to some degree of social disapproval, have all been defended as the legitimate exercising of civil liberties, including freedom of thought. (All sentences containing the words "modalities" or "paradigm" should be subjected to scrutiny.) Wetman 17:56, 17 May 2004 (UTC)

Ok, I have attempted a further refinement. Firstly, since Ruck et al themselves defined the broader sense, I removed your description of the use of this sense as "casual", and an aspect of "pop culture" (which is inaccurate and seemingly used with the intent to disparage). Secondly, your advice to the reader to keep the controversy over the meaning of the word separate from the taboos regarding secular use of hallucinogenic drugs seems to me to be partisan to the particular angle of criticism that I have labelled in the most recent edit as the "pragmatic" objection. I have removed this advice for NPOV, and for clarity have given the pragmatic objection separate treatment before going on to ideological objections related to taboo. (i.e. I have applied your advice and refrained from explicitely communicating it to the reader). Also I moved the "bit of case-pleading" to hallucinogenic drug, since it is a relevant social aspect of hallucinogenic drug use, but in line with the focus of entheogen on the strict sense of the term, belongs in hallucinogenic drug. ... hopefully we are getting close now! Rkundalini 15:54, 18 May 2004 (UTC)

I noticed there's no mention of _alcohol_ as an entheogen on the article, is there a reason?

There is a bit of discussion of wine in the classical mythology section. In terms of actual current or historical use of alcohol, the vast majority of use is not as an entheogen, ie vision-producing substance used to occasion spiritual or mystical experience. I would think even the use of wine in religious contexts by Christian churches is also not really "entheogenesis", since it only plays a symbolic rather than pharmacological role (i.e. it doesn't produce the experience). All that said, in the back of my head are two thoughts. One, I thought I remembered hearing of tibetan or nepalese shamanic use of alcohol, but I didn't put this in the entry as I couldn't find any references on the topic. Two, probably some mystics, saints and perhaps even monks (Christian and perhaps other relgions too) have used alcohol to facilitate mystical experience. I haven't got around to looking into this yet. It would be great you felt like adding info on these two cases (if true), or other cases of use of alcohol as an entheogen... -- Rkundalini 11:10, 9 Jun 2004 (UTC)
I tend to agree with you about the usage by Christian churches, however I think many 'western' cultures do use it an as entheogen, for example the role of wine in religious Jewish culture, ie in the holydays of Purim and Passover, plus it's social role in many traditional east-european cultures (not directly related to religion, but certainly ethnic), on my initial comment, I was thinking of it's role within the above Jewish holydays. However, I do not trust my own personal judgement as a source.
I think drinking a bit of wine doesn't count as entheogenic since spiritual development through intoxication is not a goal -- the article should, however, perhaps mention the practice and explain why this doesn't count. Didn't Maenads in ancient Greece use alcohol as an entheogen? Tuf-Kat 20:21, Jun 9, 2004 (UTC)
The term 'wine' used to refer to any intoxicating drink. In ancient times, wines were concocted with all kinds of herbs, some with visionary herbs. We cannot assume that ethanol was the only active ingredient. Alcohol on its own is not considered an entheogen. --Thoric 16:02, 22 Nov 2004 (UTC)
"Mindful drinking", when used by a pracitioner who has developed basic Hinayana training, is said to be a "tool for loosening the subtle clinging of ego", to quote this article. It goes on to describes the Vajrayana drinking practices in some detail. Thought it might be relevant. I have also heard that Steiner wrote about alcohol as a(n antiquated) means of bringing the spirit down to earth. FJ, May 25, 2006

These plants were used, among other things, for the manufacture of "flying ointments". This is a jumble of some vague claim made in some ignorant indictment of a witch, is it? A very odd statement of fact, for the 21st century. Wetman 01:31, 22 Jun 2004 (UTC)

This was some text moved over from hallucinogenic drug if I remember correctly. I agree it could be made more precise and npov (it has been suggested that/it is commonly accepted that/whatever). I do think this very notion has been taken seriously in serious scholarship although some checking ought to be done before saying so. Oh by the way you did notice that flying ointments is in quotes, right? Perhaps this should be qualified as 'probably psychoactive preparations known as "flying ointments"'. Rkundalini 09:38, 22 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Objections to the broad sense of the term

I have deleted the newly added point-form list of objections to the broad use of the term because IMO it is more difficult to follow, repeats itself, and misses essential information. I think this is too complex a topic to extoll in point form. An accurate represention would be a kind of nested point-counterpoint tree, which is a mess (just have a look at Arguments for and against drug prohibition!) I have pasted back in the original text that was arrived at after a tortuous iterative process to arrive at consensus. -- Rkundalini 03:35, 14 Jan 2005 (UTC)

That makes sense, Rkundalini. I had concerns that I'd like to see addressed in the current version. My main impression of the existing text when I first read this article was, I couldnt understand it at first. The wording was too terse. I've tried to fix this a 2nd time, but this time without radical reformatting. We can simplify. A quick look at DIFF will show I havent changed much; I think it reads better now.

There were 3 specific corrections Ive added after some thought, because to my mind they did present a visible problem.

  1. "Use of the strict sense of the word has therefore arisen not only amongst religious entheogen users, but also by other people who wish to practice religious tolerance... " It's not just people who wish to practice religious tolerance who have a problem with the term, so this ending needs to be be changed so it doesn't just highlight one of the several groups who may think that. For simplicity, I have changed it to "spiritual or religious tolerance".
  2. "The use of the root theos in a term describing non-religious drug use can be criticised as a form of taboo deformation". We mention "theos" twice. I've combined the two references; it's bad copyform to return to it a second time in passing after leaving it, and it made the following paragraph read badly too.
  3. Added back "use" section, after "terminology"; "use" is a legitimate topic in this article. Exactly as the article says, some people object to "everything except religion" being classified under "hallucinogenic drug". Religious people are not the only ones to use them, that needs to be said and given some space, even if it is not the core focus of the article and it merely says "some entheogens have a tradition, others dont, see article X".

I've tried to fix these things without major editing to the actual wording, as discussed above by Rkundalini.

FT2 10:03, Jan 17, 2005 (UTC)

Use of entheogens

The following text was removed. As a way of avoiding having general information on these subtances spread among three or more articles, it was decided some time ago to make hallucinogenic drug the home of general information, and to make entheogen and psychedelic (and any other terms that crop up in future) specific to the stricter interpretations of these terms, which are not simply synonymous with use of any of these substances in any old context. Text of a general nature such as the following belongs in the hallucinogenic drug entry, if it something similar is not already there. Removed text:

Naturally occurring enthegens such as Datura were, for the most part, discovered and used by older cultures, as part of their spiritual and religious life, as plants and agents which were respected, or in some cases revered. By contrast, artificial and modern entheogens, such as LSD, never had a tradition of religious use.
Currently entheogens are used in three principle ways: as part of established traditions and religions, secularly for personal spiritual development, and secularly in a manner similar to recreational drugs. A lesser use of entheogens for medical and therapeutic use is no longer pursued due to legislative and cultural objections to such uses.
The word Psychonaut has been coined in recent years to describe people who deliberately take entheogens in order to explore their psyche with a view to personal growth.

Apart from making controversial use of entheogen as a casual synonym for hallucinogen/psychedelic, there are also other problems with the text. The second sentence is a tautology. The fourth sentence is false and also apparently makes a subjective value judgement. The final sentence (and IMO the Psychonaut entry) belongs in wiktionary. --Rkundalini 02:36, 14 Jan 2005 (UTC)

There is a problem with that, worth discussing. The article acknowledges that there is a broad, and a strict use of the term. It acknowledges that the categorisation of non-traditional use as "hallucinogens" is felt to be objectionable to some users of entheogens, and I can see that classifying all non-religious use would be POV in this context. I understand it is a previous decision, but the inconsistency of an article that states it is an acknowledged legitimate meaning of the word and calling it hallucinogens may offend, only to immediately link to hallucinogens, bothers me. It may be POV to describe such use as entheogens, but the problem (as the article points out) is, its equally POV not to describe them as such.
If I was considering it from scratch I'd probably vote for either entheogen to include both uses, or a separate article "Entheogen (non-traditional use)". Can we discuss this issue further below, because this contradiction between what the article says and how it links, looks inconsistent, takes a POV in the hallucinogen/entheogen terminology debate, and bothers me. FT2 18:51, Jan 17, 2005 (UTC)
I can see your point but I'm not sure how to improve the situation. Let me outline what I see as the options and you can either advocate one or point out my folly and propose a superior alternative. First and foremost there should be one single page describing the basic existence, history, chemistry, pharmacology etc of these substances. It is really confusing and counterproductive to have information about them scattered about several different pages, as was previously the case with hallucinogenic drug, entheogen and psychedelic. Those three terms have different meanings but there is a very broad overlap which should be covered in a central article, with satellite articles covering nuances specific to each term individually. Would you agree with this? Now, the options are, either choose one of the three as the central article, and make the other two side articles, or, make up a new and completely NPOV term for describing these drugs and make that the central article, with two or three satellite articles. The problem with the latter approach is that it can't be a completely new word, it is pointless having encyclopedia articles named using terms no-one has ever heard of before. Much as I'd love to leave the whole issue behind once and for all by coining a nonsense term (anyone for a gram of bloogeyshum?), I don't think this would be very popular. As for the former approach, any choice of one of those three is going to offend some segment of our readership. Personally I would prefer "psychedelic" as the central term as IMO it strides a kind of middle ground, but nevertheless it would still draw criticism, particularly from the "hallucinogen" camp... As it happened, "hallucinogen" is more widespread in scientific, anthropological and medical literature, and the Hallucinogenic drug entry was more established, so this choice won by default. If you have a better suggestion (other than switching to one of the other POV terms, or spreading and duplicating information between them) I'd love to hear it. P.S. entheogen is looking good after the latest round of edits! -- Rkundalini 00:22, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Quick answers:
Yes, I would broadly agree, pointlessly duplicated material should be avoided where it can be summarised (or referred to a main article). I think we're seeing the issue similarly. So I'd like to look at those 3 articles tomorrow and think about the rest of your question carefully. In the meantime I have a question of definition that will clarify an aspect of the debate for me.
If a substance like Datura is used socially as a way to have a wild trip with friends, is it considered an "entheogen"? In other words, is entheogen a word which either applies to a substance or not, depending on its history of religious or shamanic use? Is it a correct use of language to say "Datura IS an entheogen" [as definition/identity], as a definitive statement? Or does it follow from its use circumstance by circumstance, so there will be times datura is an entheogen and times it is not? What about LSD, that has no history (if we exclude modern cults) of religious use? Is that an entheogen always / sometimes / never?
If you can have a go at clarifying those, or highlight the differing views and their internal logic, it would help. FT2 09:21, Jan 18, 2005 (UTC)

Objections to the 'Hallucinogenic' Reference

It's my understanding from reading Jonathan Ott's interpretation of both the broad and strict meanings of the word Entheogen, that there is no requirement for the plant or drug concerned to actually be 'hallucinogenic'. "Creating the divine within" in no way implies that hallucinations are involved. Also, many plants that are used by 'traditional' societies around the world are clearly considered entheogenic if that use is connected with non-medical shamanic-type use, but many of these plants would fall far short of the definition 'hallucinogenic'. Pappa 10:05, Apr 12, 2005 (BST)

Wine and the eucharistic wafer for instance. Edit the article to make it more accurate on this point. --Wetman 11:28, 12 Apr 2005 (UTC)
If this is the case, it should be explicitely noted as Ott's interpretation. The original Ruck et al paper quite clearly states that in both senses of the word, it must be a "vision-producing", i.e. hallucinogenic. This is quoted in the article. If people have subsequently chosen to apply different meanings to the word, that may be noteworthy but doesn't change the basic/original definition. Some people use the term "placebo entheogen" to refer to e.g. the eucharist. -- Rkundalini 02:19, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Pappa: I did not get the impression that Ott considered anything 'enthogenic' that did not have at least some psychoactive effect, and for the most part non-hallucinogenic psychoactives were excluded as far as I could tell. I could be missing something, so please site a reference other than conjecture based on your personal interpretation of the meaning of, "creating the divine within". A completely inert substance would only have a placebo effect, and is more in the realm of psychology than pharmacology. --Thoric 22:18, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)
According to Ott (page 88 of his Angel's Dictionary) the literal definition of 'entheogen' is 'becoming divine within', which was the initial suggestion by Ruck et al in 1976. Unfortunately, the 'divine within' can not be generated but revealed, in my opinion. The purpose of creating this new term was to replace the cultural baggage that had accumulated with the term 'psychedelic', which describes a manifestation of the divine within, not a generation of a 'divine within' (by taking an exogenous substance). The Greek root 'gennan' denotes the generation or fabrication of something, while the Greek root 'delos' (in psyche-delic) denotes a process of revelation or manifestation of something extant. In other words, the later implies that the 'divine within' is already there, while the former implies that it can come from without; i.e. from a plant, a chemical, a cracker or some other exogenous substance. Jcc 30 June 06.
The original draft of the definition (as shown further down in this talk page) states that the term entheogen is "used to describe the condition that follows when one is inspired and possessed by the god that has entered one's body.". Based on this original definition (and regardless of what opinion others may have), an entheogen is a substance that is either a god itself, or that its ingestion causes a god to enter one's body. This definition is based on the beliefs of the shamans who have been using them for millenia. While I share your belief that entheogens reveal the God within as opposed to create, that is not the original definition. --Thoric 18:06, 30 June 2006 (UTC)


merged in entheogens, from the talk page:

redirected to entheogen, as there is no reason for there to be two articles and the other entry has all the info given here.--Heah 16:03, 19 Apr 2005 (UTC)

--Heah 16:20, 19 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Indeed, very strange that that page existed in the first place. Rkundalini 06:48, 21 Apr 2005 (UTC)
That happens quite a bit. All articles should be singular without a good reason not to, but people often create plural articles without knowing. It's a good idea to always add a redirect for plurals. Tuf-Kat 21:46, Apr 21, 2005 (UTC)

Egyptian use of Blue Lotus question.

In the section on entheogens in Africa there is a reference to the blue lotus in Egyptian history... "A famous entheogen of ancient Egypt is the Blue Lotus (Nymphaea caerulea)." Was the Blue Lotus use commonly known amonst egyptologists and historians or is this a recent 'rediscovery' of its use as an entheogen? Mike Logghe 16:02, Jun 6, 2005 (UTC)

Can this recent edit be re-edited to be encyclopedic?

"Some proponents of the entheogenic truth have realized [or been revealed to] the significance of great biblical finds in the ancient Levitical texts of the Torah. The Book of Exodus points in a direction that deserves some attention. Chapter 16 defines a small round substance or crust (cap?) that grows in a pattern like hoarfrost (stem?), which melts in the sun, tastes of honey (preservative), comes when the dew lifts, and will be a proving factor as to wether we will walk in Truth. Somehow it is white and flakey (crushed stem) and like corriander seed (cap?). Upon critical inspection manna seems to be none other than the peace offering of the hippies Psilocybe Cubensis. Also the name of The Savior in the language he spoke, Yeshua, points in this direction in several ways. Firstly there is seven tops. The number seven is found in the text of The Bible more than any other number and according to Three Pillars of Zen [zen being the number seven in Hebrew! See Psalm 119.] The seventh state of consciousness (which even by definition is trippy) is in fact manas. Coincidence? Not on Gods time."

wow. I don't think it can. This wreaks of tripper-epiphany. Let's try and keep these rants out of the encyclopedia people, unless you want to write an article in which you, in an appropriate fashion, summarize someone elses rant (i.e. a published theory) and not present it as...this. Shaggorama 21:07, 10 December 2005 (UTC)


Clearly, at least the majority of this article was written by people who support the use of hallucinogenic drugs, and probably use them frequently for "psychonautical" purposes. Ok, that is unavoidable; the wikipedia functions because the articles are written by individuals who find the subject matter itneresting, so will invest themselves in the article. But the problem is that ONLY these people have even heard this word; the average, non-tripper has never even heard this word before and will iklely have no reason to look it up in wikipedia, and so the article is being written from a very minority perspective. Let's be objective here people. The majority of western society does not infact condone the use of hallucinogenic drugs, but this article seems to present the opinion that most people do and should. Furthermore, much of the information in this article seems to have been come across in....let's say a priori research. Let's see some REAL anthropological citations and less positing of coincidence and semblances of fact. As it is currently being presented, this article is illigitimizing itself. if you all want your opinions to be taken seriously when read, you should present them in a less tripped out fashion.

Some Specifics (The accounts I am about to give will not be of a NPOV. I am going to instead represent the unrepresented face of this article in attacking it to show why it does not represent a NPOV.):

  • "The use of entheogens in human cultures is generally ubiquitous throughout recorded history, including Christian society if the Eucharist is counted, and including Islamic society if Sufi practices are counted. The number of entheogen-using cultures is therefore very large."

the -just because drug use exists in a culture doesn't mean you can label the entire culture as supportive of drug use. Eucharist and Sufi can be labelled specifically in this co (although I seriously doubt sufi's as a whole can be labeled. i imagine only specific sects or practices can, considering the islamic opinion on drug use in general. furthermore, i don't even know what eucharist is, but the moral majority certainly doesn' approve of drug use, and i consider them, sadly, to be fairly representative of american christianity as a whole).

  • "Since 1979, when the term was proposed, its use has become widespread. In particular, the word fills a vacuum for those users of entheogens who feel that the term "hallucinogen", which remains common in medical, chemical and anthropological literature, denigrates their experience and the world view in which it is integrated."

-No, this word is far from common usage. It is used, as the second sentence describes, by hallucinogenic drug users who don't like the terms the rest of society uses to describe them.

The last paragraph of terminology and use (as of this date), I feel, best characterizes how this article should look. Please compare its claims to the claims in the rest of the article if you still don't under stand my problems with this article. Shaggorama 21:30, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

This article is fairly well referenced and cited. i don't see any original research. "entheogen" and "hallucinogen" are not interchangable terms; the Eucharist, for instance, is not a hallucinogen, but IS an accepted part of christian practice- every mass for catholics and Episcopalians, and on special holidays for most other protestants. (maybe you should have clicked on it?) It would seem, from the paragraph you selected as being "how this article should look", that your idea of npov is a discussion of how the term is used to cover up what you see as illicit drug use. This term does not cover any usage of hallucinogens, but rather the use of "that which causes (a person) to be in god", or more commonly but not literally translated, something that "creates the divine within"; it is the use of these agents in religious ritual with religious intent, something that does seem to have existed almost everywhere at some point in time. please feel free to fix sentences like "its usage is widespread", when clearly that usage is only widespread among a specific segment of the population and the sentene should reflect that; however, to claim that this is simply about illicit drug use is to miss the point entirely. (sufis, by way, are a "specific sect or practice" of islam.) --Heah talk 23:14, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

I have to say, who cares whether the "majority of western society" condones entheogensis or not? The majority of the public also don't condone cannabilism yet I don't see you objecting to a detailed entry for that. NPOV is about neutrality, it is not about asserting the prejudices of "the majority of western society" or even "the Christian moral majority". WTF?! Ok vent over, now. Regarding your specific objections
  • Christians, Sufis etc... I agree that this is poorly phrased and ill-referenced (it was tacked on to the article at a later point than the rest of it and IMO doesn't meet the quality standard established earlier). However I also point out that "ubiquity" need not equate with universal approval. Entries pertaining to these should probably be put in a "Middle East" section. The sufi point can be well referenced (there are numerous historical incidents documenting cannabis use among sufis since ancient times). The Eucharist point is speculation and should be noted as such, and referenced (yes, it is published speculation)
  • Regarding "entheogen" not being in common usage, the article makes no such claim. It says that the term has become widespread amongst a specific segment of the population: "religious entheogen users" and "thers who wish to practice spiritual or religious tolerance".
I am removing the "original research" tag since you have no justification for it. I will also make some improvements to the additions relating to Sufism and the Eucharist. I would also like to remove the NPOV tag soon too but I will wait for more objections to surface.--Russell E 00:27, 20 December 2005 (UTC)
Since no more objections have surfaced, i'm removing the npov tag. --Heah talk 05:07, 10 January 2006 (UTC)


An attempt was made to de-POV the inclusion of the term Psychonaut... but it was a bit long-winded and IMO the mention of the term should be eliminated entirely. If anything it could go in psychedelic since its etymology it refers to a psychological rather than religious view of these experiences. I also removed the newly-added NPOV tag -- I'm assuming it pertained to the Psychonaut paragraph even though no explanation was placed here on the talk page. --Russell E 21:35, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

Look directly above this post for discussion of NPOV. Removal of the psychonaut deal works wiwth me, it's not really that pertinent to he article, but the article as a whole exhibits many flaws. leave the NPOV tag for the time being. allow it to be addressed formally here. Shaggorama 21:59, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

it is up to you to address it formally if you tagged it. what original research is in this article? what exactly is pov? i don't see it. --Heah talk 22:52, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
oh! didn't see your post above. i'll go read that. sorry! --Heah talk 22:57, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

Psychonaut is a broader term than entheogen with a tendency to focus on the intellectual whereas entheogen focuses on the spiritual. There's no reason to remove psychonaut. --Thoric 19:39, 20 January 2006 (UTC)

Original research?

Perhaps the following was the reason for the original research tag? I have removed it.. if these points have been published elsewhere then they could be replaced in a more appropriate (new) section, with references and further supporting material.

The Rig Veda, the first of the Vedas and the oldest known religious document, has many reverent references to the Soma sacrament, and has stories that tie the archetypal image of the serpent to Soma, which teaches man of the divine. This theme was arguably picked up by the author of Genesis to describe the fall of man. In the third chapter of Genesis, a fruit that teaches the knowledge of good and evil (a "plant teacher") was offered to Eve by the serpent.
In the broadest sense, this was also the first instance of a plant that teaches being recorded in the religious history of man. The idea of a "plant teacher" has since been a staple of indigenous shamanic lore worldwide, and is often acompanied (and even offered) by the serpent in said lore.

--Russell E 01:13, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

Yes, they have been widely published by various authors. --Viriditas 02:05, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

Definition POV

I've noticed that entheogen has been incorrectly defined. The proper definition should be that of those who proposed the definition, not by playing guessing games or pointing out technicalities in Greek translation:

We, therefore, propose a new term that would be appropriate for
describing states of shamanic and ecstatic possession induced by
ingestion of mind-altering drugs. In Greek the word entheos means
literally "god (theos) within," and was used to describe the condition
that follows when one is inspired and possessed by the god that has
entered one's body.

C. A. P. Ruck, J. Bigwood, D. Staples, J. Ott & R. G. Wasson 1979 "Entheogens," in Journal of Psychedelic Drugs 11, p. 145ff

This is the proper definition, not the current one of "in God". --Thoric 19:52, 20 January 2006 (UTC)

Agreed. If it turns out that the Ruck et al interpretation of the greek roots is questionable, then it should remain (seeing the article is about the term as coined by them) but a note added to this effect, rather than outright changing it all as was previously doon.--Russell E 21:36, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
I discovered that this change came in on July 26th, 2004 by user/ip Unfortunately nobody noticed the change in meaning as it came in with detailing on the Greek roots, but the end result was essentially claiming that the original meaning (as coined by Ruck and others) was incorrect. This meaning drift has unfortunately propagated to other sites ( for example). --Thoric 22:13, 20 January 2006 (UTC)


This discussion is copied from Talk:Psychoactive drug. __meco 12:47, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

It should be emphasized that ever since Ulysses forcibly removed his intoxicted oarmen from the forgetful Island of Lotus Eaters, the graeco-european culture considers mind-modification substances the utmost evil and entirely banned. The consumption of psychoactive drugs is a root denial of the CIVILIZATION as we understand it.

Drugs consumption is associated with barbarism and aboriginal wildness (zulu negro, redskins, asians etc.) whom all were throughly defeated by the material might of our graeco-caucasian civilization. The electricity, computers and Internet that make wikipedia any possible were all invented and realized by the non-drugged white civilization, therefore it is unacceptable to tolerate and euphemise psychoactive drug use on wikipedia. You have to choose between tech civilization and drugs, because tech civilization is the heritage of Ulysses, not the rastas! 09:26, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

Interesting comment(s), but you should note that drug use has been a staple of civilization for all of recorded history, and most certainly for many millenia prior. Nothing is going to change this as can be seen from our modern dependence not only on a large pharmacopeia of pills, but also on copius amounts of coffee, tea, chocolate and alcohol.
As far as modern technology, much has been inspired from drug use, in fact a large amount of the technology boom in the late 60s and early 70s have roots in psychedelic drugs such as LSD --Thoric 02:57, 24 April 2006 (UTC)
end copy of discussion

Also read Kary Mullis' autobiography "Dancing Naked in the Mindfield" Great story of his accessing the information that forms the basis of the various genome projects. Altered states are the origins of many of our discoveries now considered mechanical and rational. Met Mullis at the Telluride Mushroom Festival several years ago where other new discoveries have been announced by people under the influence of psychedelics. cf Paul Stamet's examples for example. Great character like the other Nobel laureate I'm privileged to hang with, the physicist Brian Josephson. Check out what he is up to. His research forms the basis of some serious aspects of high speed computing. Mike Logghe 23:30, 30 May 2006 (UTC) "Rumors have circulated that Crick told a colleague that he had taken small doses of the hallucinogenic drug LSD at the time of the discovery of the structure of DNA in order to boost his deductive powers. However, during his life, Crick was ready to sue anyone who put these rumors into print. Crick was a founding member of a group called SOMA, one of many organizations that has tried to prevent criminalization of cannabis use." From an encyclopedia article on Crick. ( Interesting that he and Mullis used similar technologies to enhance their insights on DNA. Again nature spirits educating us ?????? Also see Kekule's account of his dream where he intuited? the ring structure of the benzene molecule, a critical step in our modern "scientific" understanding of biochemistry. Mike Logghe 19:01, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

New section proposal - "Modern Entheogens"

Shouldn't there also be a section detailing drugs which are generally labelled as "recreational", such as LSD or MDMA, but which are sometimes used for spiritual/religious purposes? These chemicals lack the long histories of traditional entheogens (though it should be noted that LSD-like chemicals have been used as entheogens in Europe for millennia) but do now have well-established (albeit young) spiritual traditions and beliefs surrounding them. Both LSD and MDMA were used for purposes of spiritual or personal development years before they became more widely known as "recreational" drugs.—Preceding unsigned comment added by Tavdy79 (talkcontribs) 21:14, July 25, 2006 (UTC)

This is a bit of a fuzzy area. Technically shamans are able to make use of modern entheogens as well as plant entheogens (as has been shown through experiments in providing psilocybin containing capsules to mushroom using shamans), the problem lies in the accepted legitimacy of modern "LSD religions". There is enough difficulty in getting governments to respect aboriginal use of plant entheogens without adding to the confusion by adding more recent substances to the list. Ideally entheogens should be restricted to plants which have been documented to have had long standing spiritual use among aboriginal peoples. Use of modern substances in a similar context should be kept to such articles as Neoshamanism and Psychonaut. --Thoric 22:40, 25 July 2006 (UTC)
I agree that although it is easy to see how the above mentioned substances (LSD and MDMA) could be applied in an "entheogenic way", it would be inappropriate to create the proposed section as it falls short of having been described in the reference literature on entheogens. I have applied the term "entheogenic practice" in the article on Autofellatio because I see a likeness in spirit although this "practice" does not involve any substance, however, I would oppose autofellatio being described in the article Entheogen with no references in source literature. __meco 13:34, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

Eight Enthogenically-based Religions

After reading Jonathan Ott's opus, Pharmacotheon, I find descriptions of several new twentieth century religions and historical religions centered on eight entheogens, thus to provide meaning to the powerful experience: (1) Amanti Muscari mushroom (and dried buttons as the Soma of the Hindus)--- Siberian mushroom cult, (2) Peyote cactus flesh --- The Native American Church, (3) Psilocybin mushroom --- little peoples mushroom cult , (4) Cannabis flower resin --- The Rastifarians, (5) LSD --- Greek Oracles, Dyonisian Mysteries cult; Timothy Leary's facade of a "church" ..., (6) DMT, Ayujuasca brew --- Santo Domini de Luz, church of light and power ..., (7) 5-MeO DMT (only when smoked) --- Toad of Light, (8) Datura?, flying ointment, and other herbs --- Wicca.

This was from memory. I'll will expand it later. Could this context be a framework for this (or another) article on enthogens, in addition to the geographical approach? Government entered to supress these incipient "religious" practices when they were found to be too dangerous to the users or to the status quo. Larry R. Holmgren 06:28, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
I think it will be hard to present this in a way that allows for the establishment of an existing view taken by governments that these religious movements (the word religion may also be too hard to apply generally here) are too dangerous to the status quo. To individuals, sure. __meco 06:52, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
Read Mr. Ott's book. I recall that he gives a brief history of the Brazilian government's actions against several colonies/cults centered on cannabis and on Ayujuasca in the 20th century. There is a history in the U.S. as well. Read the book, One Nation Under God: The Triumph of the Native American Church by Huston Smith and Reuben Snake (Paperback - May 1998) concerning the recognition by the U.S. government of the consumption of peyote as a religious rite by the indiginous tribes.
See the US Supreme Court ruling, 1982?, Smith vs. Oregon. The Status Quo in the 20th century United States vs the use of LSD, cannabis, and psychedelic mushrooms are a huge subject in cultural conflict. Larry R. Holmgren 17:55, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

Portmanteau coining: "entheo-delic"

I moved this recent anonymous edit here: "The term "entheodelic" is a common substitute, and carries less of the "hallucinogenic" baggage than does "entheogen", as the latter suggests that the substance has generated or created the Spiritual presence, while the former, entheo (God/Spirit) delic (revealing,) suggests that the Spirit was revealed by the experience." A personal hobby-horse, apparently. "Entheo-delic" is not even a rare substitute. Its -delic coining actually returns the "psychedelic" baggage successfully avoided by entheogen. Google it, to see that "entheodelic" is not commonly employed in professional discourse. --Wetman 00:42, 20 May 2007 (UTC)

Embedded list of entheogens & proper cleanup

I'd like to propose moving the embedded list of entheogens to the talk page until work is put forth to clean up the list with prose. I would like to keep the list around as it appears to be a good resource to be explored later, however, I think it detracts from the flow of the article as it currently stands. What is the normal policy on this? --Tylerdmace 14:34, 15 October 2007 (UTC)

Good idea. The style seems to be to prefer prose to lists. I've gone ahead and removed the list.TheRingess (talk) 16:57, 15 October 2007 (UTC)
Noting that there is a separate listing page at List Of Entheogens.Shamanchill (talk) 03:23, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Caffeine as an entheogen

Is caffeine an entheogen? As in, could you consume caffeine in a strictly spiritual context? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 21:46, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

Caffeine has been used by religious people in spiritual contexts (usually to focus on prayer), but it does not induce the entheogenic state of mind. Instead, it stimulates the central nervous system. That is to say, caffeine does not "facilitate religious experience" through an altered state of consciousness. According to the article on caffeine, it is considered an ergogenic aid. You can see where caffeine falls on the 8-Circuit Model of Consciousness, although this model is only useful for discussion as it is not intended to be scientific. —Viriditas | Talk 08:56, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
The word "entheogen" has been corrupted to the point where this unfortunate (and certainly unnecessary) term is no longer synonymous with "psychedelic", perhaps because most people don't know what the latter term means. Therefore, common usage now implies a proper fit for this word as any psychoactive drug (e.g., tobacco) used within a quasi-religious or shamanic context. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 23:55, March 12, 2008 (UTC)


The word entheogen is a neologism derived from the ancient Greek : ἔνθεος (entheos) and γενέσθαι (genesthe). Entheos literally means "god (theos) within", more freely translated "inspired". The Greeks used it as a term of praise for poets and other artists.

The first sentence asserts that "entheogen" is a neologism, but the third sentence directly contradicts this by saying that it was used as a term of praise by (presumably ancient) Greeks. Which is it? 20:11, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

It's a neologism; the other is mythobabble— hard to keep straight. --Wetman 07:38, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
I think that the definition of Greek root word gen, being "becomming", should also be added. See note below on original definition. Shamanchill (talk) 03:22, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

"Gen" comes from "gennan", which is to create or generate, not "becoming". However you make a good point, as it is a bit ignorant for people to think that the "god" within can be self-created or even generated by taking a chemical or plant substance. Going on to your point, "becoming" is better represented by the Greek root "delos", which is to reveal or make manifest. Wasson et al. were simply too uncomfortable with the popular use of the medical term at the time, "psychedelic", and simply tried to spiritualize "hallucinogen" by changing the prefix. "Entheodelic" would certainly come closer to the experience. Jace1 (talk) 20:24, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

"Safrole = soma" identified in "10,000 year-old" vedas?"

there are well documented uses of safrole and safrole extractions similar to MDMA, documented in ancient Indian texts dating as far back as 8,000 B.C

Is this an assertion that safrole is the long-sought unidentified soma, and furthermore, that literary references to soma date to 8000 BC? This is familiar material from New Age bulletin-board chat, but not encyclopedic. --Wetman (talk) 22:38, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

facts or wishful thinking

The word entheogen was coined in 1979 by a group of ethnobotanists and scholars of mythology (Carl A. P. Ruck, Jeremy Bigwood, Danny Staples, Richard Evans Schultes, Jonathan Ott and R. Gordon Wasson). The literal meaning of the word is "that which causes God to be within an individual". The translation "creating the divine within" is sometimes given, but it should be noted that entheogen implies neither that something is created (as opposed to just perceiving something that is already there) nor that that which is experienced is within the user (as opposed to having independent existence).

My problem with this paragraph is that Jonathan Ott is the pen name of Terrance McKenna. McKenna has rejected the use of the word "entheogen" multiple times, because it implies that a "God" (Male, ego dominated, infinite, and monothiestic)is required for feelings of divine extacty. Both McKenna and A. Shulgin prefer the term "psychedelic" (a Greek neologism for "mind manifest"). "The term "psychedelic" was also seen as problematic, due to the similarity in sound to words pertaining to psychosis and also due to the fact that it had become irreversibly associated with various connotations of 1960s pop culture." Who sees it as problematic? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:54, 9 December 2007 (UTC)

I don't remember McKenna ever rejecting the word "entheogen". Of course, it's possible that I missed it. Keep in mind, McKenna has criticized just about every single idea that he could address, so don't confuse his strong skepticism for outright rejection. There is certainly room for debate. —Viriditas | Talk 01:24, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
This is absurd. Jonathan is alive and living in Mexico, while Terrance has passed away. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 23:55, March 12, 2008 (UTC)
It's irrelevant if McKenna later changed his mind on the use of the word "entheogen", as he was among the group of individuals commonly credited with coining the terms. To give more info on this in the article in question if probably too detailed to bother with, as it's too tangential to the subject. Finally, I'd like to add a citation on this, by referring to Richard Rudgley's "The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Substances" pg 93 or the original paper by the coiners, written by Wasson (with the others as collaborators), and published in a 1979 Journal of Psychedelic Substances (I can add direct quotes from either if you like). If anyone can locate or has a copy of Rudgley's first book, "The Alchemy of Culture:Intoxicants in Society", it may also prove a good citation source. Thoughts? Shamanchill (talk) 02:11, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Ahm... getting back to the point: "that which causes God to be within an individual" does not do justice to the effect we are trying to describe. "That which causes..." = gen, which comes from gennan, which means to generate. So, we are left with "generating god within an individual", which is quite absurd. Or let me ask it this way; can god be generated? Perhaps she is revealed (delos). Jace1 (talk) 20:30, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

General notes

Anybody knowing what should be the meaning of "[UDV/NAC]"? It appears (to me) do be completely unclear... --Antifumo (talk) 01:09, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

UDV is short for União do Vegetal, and NAC refers to the Native American Church. This is why full names need to be used, but in this case, it doesn't even belong as a parenthetical. —Viriditas | Talk 01:17, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
If these terms are to remain, they should at least be linked, no? I also think that they're a good practical example for the article, although they may not belong in the preamble. Shamanchill (talk) 02:14, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

I think that the two neurochemical pathways as part of the pre-amble definition is limited in scope and I've not heard of this before, although I'll look into my copy of PIHKAL. I also question the use of Shulgin as source in this definition, as he is the expert in P and T entheogens, having catalogued/created/tested so many, but I'm not sure he's the definitive source for ALL entheogens, being a chemist, and not an anthropologist or ethnobiologist or neurologist. Is there another source for this, based on a more ethnobiological perspective? If not, I think it should be removed or altered to broaden scope. Thoughts? Shamanchill (talk) 03:22, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Yes, this is total rubbish. "phenethylamine" and "tryptamine" are not "pathways"; they are families of chemicals. In this context both activate the same "pathway", the serotonin 5HT2A receptor. Salvinorin A is a good example of an entheogen which is completely different from these in chemical structure, pharmocological activity, and subjective effects. I've edited the lead accordingly. C1c27821 (talk) 05:05, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

Original Wasson paper definition

The original paper by Wasson et al reads like this:

We ... propose a new term that would be appropriate for describing states of shamanic and ecstatic possession induced by the ingestion of mind-altering drugs. In Greek, the word entheos means literally 'god (theos) within' and was used to describe the condition that follows when one is inspired and possessed by the god that has entered one's body. It was applied to prophetic seizures, erotic passion and artistic creation, as well as to those religious rites in which mystical states were experienced through the ingestion of substances that were transubstantial with the deity. In combination with the Greek root gen-, which denotes the action of 'becomming', this term results in the word we are proposing: entheogen. ... In a strict sense, only those vision-producing drugs that can be shown to have figured in shamanic or religious rites would be designated 'entheogens', but in a looser sense, the term could also be applied to other drugs, both natural and artificial, that induce alterations in consciousness similar to those documented for ritual ingestion of traditional entheogens"

I think that this article should take the "looser sense" of the definition to include modern spiritual aids such as chemical DMT, Ketamine, LSD and others, as "ritually ingested" by Dr. John C. Lilly, Marsha Moore, and others. This also relates to my comments on broadening the neurological definition quoted from Shulgin above. Also making this note part of List of Entheogens talk page, as we'll need to settle on a hard definition on what to include, and I don't think that chemical substances should be excluded, just as the coiners of this term didn't. Shamanchill (talk) 03:22, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Shamanchill is correct, there is much more to this than the chemistry. It is the effect that the chemistry provides- this is the topic of interest. The chemicals are just keys and our brain receptors mere locks. It is the opening, or becoming or revealing of the soul that is of importance here. Unfortunately Wasson et al got it wrong by trying to equate "becoming" with "generating". This opened state of mind is not really generated, but allowed to be revealed, through unlocking, if you will. In other words, we already have "it" (how ever one likes to define "it"). "It" is not something to be "generated". This is why entheogen, like hallucinogen, fails as a satisfactory term in this regard. Jace1 (talk) 20:40, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

Maori non-use of Entheogens

Regarding this: "Also, it has been suggested that the Māori of New Zealand used the biologically related "Māori Kava" or kawakawa (Macropiper excelsum) as an entheogen (Bock 2000)." Which links to this -

If you read the linked article, it indicates there's no evidence that it *was* ever used as an entheogen by the maori, it just presents a base theory that according on the chemical reports, it could be used as an entheogen. Additionally, the theory it presents that there is no evidence due to the suppression of Tohunga doesn't seem *particularly* relevent to discussion of entheogen use, considering this was pre-drug war culture - there would have been less reason for entheogen herbal knowledge to be specifically repressed when other sorts of herbal knowledge weren't. To our knowledge, there are no known uses of entheogens by Maori. Finally, even with that chemistry reports indicating it might be usable, I can't seem to find even any modern reports of anyone actually 'tripping' on it? (And I do know people who regularly drink Kawakawa tea)

Actually, the chemistry theory appears to be bunk, as this toxicology report contraindicates it: "The amount of myristicin in M. excelsum leaf is comparatively small, and the maximum recommended dose of the sponsored product would contain less than 100mg of myristicin, compared with the reported human oral TDLo of 342 mg for a 60 kg person (at which dose 'wakefulness' is the only behavioural effect reported)." TDLo being the "lowest published toxic dose", ie, at toxic doses, it still wouldn't be having any effect.

Unless anyone can provide any evidence of Maori entheogen use, of which we currently have none, I'm removing the passage.

-- (talk) 00:27, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

Plant C&P from 'Cultures' section

Someone plonked the following into the middle of the cultures section, which I've removed. Wrong place, I have no idea where it's from, and I have no interest in cleaning it up. But if someone else wants to:

" World Entheogens, Psychoactives and Ethnobotanicals-

Psychoactive and/or medicinal Cacti-

Ariocarpus agavoides Ariocarpus fissuratus Ariocarpus kotschoubeyanus Ariocarpus retusus Astrophytum asterias Astrophytum myriostigma Aztekium ritterii Carnegiea gigantea Coryphantha compacta Coryphantha elephantidens Coryphantha macromeris Echinocactus platyacanthus (Echinocactus visnaga) Echinocereus salm-dyckianus (Echinocereus scheeri) Echinocereus polyacanthus Epithalantha micromeris Lophophora williamsii Lophophora diffusa Mammillaria grahamii Mammillaria heyderi Mammillaria (Dolichothele) longimamma Mammillaria pectinifera (Solisia pectinata) Mammillaria (Mamillopsis) senilis Mammillaria sonorensis (Mammillaria craigii) Matucana madisoniorum Neoraimondia macrostibas Obregonia denegrii Pachycereus pecten-aboriginum Pachycereus pringlei Pelecyphora aselliformis Strombocactus disciformis Turbinicarpus pseudomacrochele Turbinicarpus pseudopectinatus (Pelecyphora pseudopectinata) Trichocereus species

“Ayahuasca” Admixtures and Associated Botanicals-

Teliostachya lanceolata Alternanthera lehmannii Iresine sp. Himatanthus sucuuba Malouetia tamaquarina Mandevilla scabra Tabernaemontana sp. Ilex guayusa Montrichardia arborescens Mansoa alliacea Tabebuia heteropoda Tabebuia incana Tabebuia sp. Tynnanthus panurensis Cavanillesia hylogeiton Cavanillesia umbellata Ceiba pentandra Chorisia insignis Chorisia speciosa Quararibea spp. Tournefortia angustifolia Epiphyllum sp. Opuntia sp. Anthodiscus pilosus Maytenus ebenifola Carludovica divergens Lomariopsis japurensis Erythroxylum spp. Alchornea castaneifolia Hura crepitans Gnetum nodiflorum Clusia sp. Tovomita sp. Ocimum micranthum Couroupita guianensis Bauhinia guianensis Caesalpinia echinata liandra angustifolia Campsiandra laurifolia Cedrelinga castaneiformis Erythrina glauca Erythrina poeppigiana Pithecellobium laetum Sclerobium setiferum Vouacapoua americana Phrygilanthus eugenioides Phtirusa pyrifolia Diplopterys cabrerana Mascagnia psilophylla Stigmaphyllon fulgens Uncaria guianensis Uncaria tomentosa Calathea veitchiana Abuta grandifolia Coussapa tessmannii Ficus sp. Virola sp. Cabomba aquatica Petiveria alliaceae Piper sp. Triplaris surinamensis Pontederia cordata Calycophyllum spruceanum Capirona decoriticans Guettarda ferox Psychotria spp. Psychotria viridis Rudgea retifolia Sabicea amazonensis Paullinia yoco Lygodium venustum Scoparia dulcis Brugmansia spp. Brunfelsia spp. Capsicum spp. Iochroma fuchsioides Juanulloa ochracea Nicotiana spp. Cornutia odorata Vitex triflora Rinorea viridiflora

“Cimora” Brew Plants and Admixtures- Trichocereus spp. Neoraimondia macrostibas Pedilanthus tithymaloides Isotoma longiflora Brugmansia spp. Iresine spp. Datura spp.

The Baneful Botanicals-

Old World-

Atropa belladonna ~ “Nightshade” or “Belladonna” Digitalis purpura ~ "Foxglove" Atropa mandragora (Mandragora officinalis) ~ “Mandrake” Hyoscyamus niger ~ “Henbane” Tabernatnthe Iboga ~ “Iboga Root” Amanita muscaria ~ “Fly Agaric” Helleborus niger ~ “Hellebore” Acorus calamus ~ “Sweet Flag” Peganum harmala ~ “Syrian Rue”

New World-

Ariocarpus retusus Brugmansia spp. Datura spp. Brunfelsia spp. Saphora secundiflora ~ “Mescal Bean” Pernettya furens and Pernettya parvifolia ~"Hierba Loca" Methysticodendron amesianum ~ “Snake Intoxicant” Iochroma fuchsioides ~ “Borrachera” Latua pubiflora ~ “Arbol De Los Brujos” Nicotiana spp. ~ “Tobacco”

Xochipilli/Macuilxochitl "Prince of Flowers" Statue Botanicals-

Psilocybe aztecorum ~ “Mushrooms” Nicotiana tabacum ~ “Tobacco” Rivea corymbosa ~ “Ololiuqui” Heimia salicifolia and/or Heimia myrtifolia ~ “Sun-Opener” or “Sinicuichi” Quararibea funebris ~ “Cacahuaxochitl” And one unidentified flower suspected to be a Brugmansia spp. or Datura spp.

Entheogens- Banisteriopsis caapi ~ “Vine of the Dead” or “Ayahuasca” Psychotria viridis Psilocybian Mushrooms ~ “Teonanacatl” Ipomoea violacea ~ “Tlitliltzin” Rivea corymbosa ~ “Ololiuqui” Argyreia nervosa ~ “Woodrose” Salvia Divinorum ~ "Pipilzintzintli" Trichocereus spp. ~ “San Pedro” Lophophora williamsii ~ “Peyote” Tabernanthe iboga ~ “Iboga” Diplopterys cabrerana ~ or “Ayahuasca” Heimia salicifolia and Heimia myrtifolia ~ “Sinicuichi” or “Sun-Opener” Mimosa hostilis ~ “Jurema” Amanita muscaria ~ “Fly Agaric”


Cannabis sativa ~ “Marijuana” Brugmansia candida; sanguinea; aurea; vulcanicola ~ “Tree Datura” Nymphaea caerulea ~ “Blue Lotus” Nelumbo nucifera ~ “Scared Lotus” Acorus calamus ~ “Sweet Flag” Peganum harmala ~ “Syrian Rue”

Psychoactives- Passiflora incarnata ~ “Passion-Flower” Erythroxylum spp. ~ “Coca Leaf” Papaver somniferum ~ “Opium Poppies” Nicotiana spp. ~ “Tobacco” Mitragyna speciosa ~ “Kratom” Humulus lupulus ~ “Hops” Silene capensis ~ “Root of the White Ways” Calea zacatechichi ~ “Bitter Dream Herb” Catha edulis ~ “Khat” Areca catechu and Piper betle ~ "Betel Nut" and “Betel Leaf” Leonotis leonurus ~ “Wild Dagga” Sceletium tortuosum ~ “Kanna” Duboisia hopwoodii ~ "Pituri" Pedicularis densiflora ~ “Indian Warrior” Piper methysticum ~ “Kava Kava”

Ethnobotanicals- Camellia sinensis ~ “Tea” Theobroma cacao ~ “Cacao”or “Cocoa” or “Chocolate” Ilex Paraguariensis ~ “Yerba Mate” Ephedra spp. ~ “Ma Huang” Lactuca virosa ~ “Wild Lettuce Opium” Scutellaria lateriflora ~ “Skullcap” Valeriana officinalis ~ “Valerian Root” Verbena hastate “Blue Vervain” Pausinystalia yohimbe ~ “Yohimbe” Or (Corynanthe yohimbe) Myristica fragrans ~ “Nutmeg” Panax spp. ~ “Ginseng” Artemisia absinthium ~ “Wormwood” Aspalathus linearis “Rooibos” Leonurus sibiricus ~ “Motherwort” Gingko biloba ~ “Gingko” Rholdia rosea ~ “Golden Root” Canavalia maritima Sida acuta Zornia latifolia Verbascum blattaria "Moth Mullein" Osha Root Yerbe Santa Lobelia inflata ~ "Indian Tobacco" ~Polygala sibirica and Polygala tenuifolia "Taoist Memory enhancer"

Understudied Entheogens, Psychoactives and Other Ethnobotanicals-

Quararibea funebris ~ “Cacahuaxochitl” Lagochilus inebrians ~ “Turkish Inebriating Mint” Oncidium ceboletta, Cypripedium calceolus and other psychoactive orchids. Pancratium trianthum ~ “Kwashi” Kaempferia galanga ~ “Galanga” Lycoperdon mixtecorum and Lycoperdon marginotum ~ “Puffballs”

Virola calophylla, Virola colophylloidea, and Virola theiodora ~ “Virola” (Mashi-Hiri) Justicia pectoralis

Anadenanthera peregrina ~ “Yopo” Anadenanthera colubrina Tetrapteris methistica ~ “Painted Caapi” Methysticodendron amesianum ~ “Snake Intoxicant” (Deadly Poisonous) Petunia violacea ~ “Shanin” Tagetes lucida ~ “Mexican Tarragon” Mucuna pruriens Velvetbeans; Cowhage

Tanaecium nocturnum- aphrodisiac ~ Cestrum laevigatumn ~Coleus Blumei and Coleus Pumilus ~Cymbopogon densiflorus- causes dreams which foretell the future. ~Maquira sclerophylia ~ “Rapa dos Indios” ~Helichrysum foetidum- Zulu Trance Smoke ~Scirpus atrovirens - very powerful Mexican herb said to cure insanity

Acacia maidenii Datura spp. Sassafras albidum SHANSHI (Coriaria thymifolia) Argemone Mexicana ~ "Prickly Poppy" HELICHRYSUM FOETIDUM - Compositae (Straw Flower) M.senilis, M.heyderii, M.craigii, M.grahamii, M.micromeris. Synsepalum dulcificum ~"Miracle Fruit" TAIQUE (Desfontainia hookeri) KEULE (Gomortega keule) Iochroma Voacanga africana Desfontainia spinosa Bufo alvarius Add toads and animals Catharanthus roseus (Madagascar Periwinkle)

Add other “interesting plants”! " —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:34, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

Entheogens in Literature

Quick comment, I'm just surprised that Carlos Castaneda's name doesn't appear in the literature portion of the article. i know, I'm not contributing much in the manner of info and text, but if I remember correctly, he's written more about entheogens than any two authors combined. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:48, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

No, he wrote about psychedelic technologies, from an anthropological perspective. The term "entheogen" was really not around when he was doing his thing. I wonder if he would have used it even if it were in common use during his time. Some say Castenada's work has been discredited, however the information still seems to hold its value over time. Jace1 (talk) 20:46, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

Issue resolved. According to Psilocybin#History, Castenada's works revolved around fictional stories, whereas Psilocybe mushroom cultivation was developed by Terence McKenna, his brother, and his wife. --Notmyhandle (talk) 20:55, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

Use of parentheticals

One or more editors inserted unsourced commentary in the form of parentheticals throughout the terminology section. I'm going through this section and removing them. If anyone wants to discuss this, please do so here. Thanks. Viriditas (talk) 02:21, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

I may have been responsible for some, if not all, of that. The text is still not as accurate or precise as a terminology section should be, so let's go through it. Currently written is "...but entheogen implies neither that something is created nor that that which is experienced is within the user...", which tries to address my point, but fails. This addition is, in fact, not even true. Two sentences onwards, the prefix is discussed, but not the suffix, which forms the basis of my point. The suffix indicates the production or generation of something (genesthai?). The suffix was basically lifted from "hallucinogen" at the time, an interesting oxymoron in itself, but that's another rant. Also, the definition given here is not correct. According to Ott, lit. "becoming divine within", however "genesthai" is not "becoming" in this context but "generating" (...divine within). May we fix this now?Jace1 (talk) 21:54, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
Why don't you rewrite it here and discuss your addition? Viriditas (talk) 22:14, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

I thought I just did! Another possibility would be for you to dig up the text you changed, put it here, and then let us work from that. OK?Jace1 (talk) 09:26, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

I'm sorry if I'm not communicating well. Let me try again: Please place the full text you want to see in the article below this comment. The text should appear exactly as you prefer it. That way, I can see what you are talking about rather than just your comments. Thanks. Viriditas (talk) 10:14, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
This issue hasn't been resolved. Jace1, Viriditas is asking you to re-write the sentence here so the new version can be revised. --Notmyhandle (talk) 20:55, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

Quantification of thought

Rather, it is the precise characterization and quantification of these experiences, and of religious experience in general, that is not yet developed.

Yep, and pigs will fly, real soon now. Viriditas (talk) 08:16, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

Issue resolved: sentence removed as part of an edit made on July 13, 2009. --Notmyhandle (talk) 20:55, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

Major update proposed

I am proposing to do a major update of the page, in order to introduce updated terminology presented by Greg Kasarik at the Entheogenesis Australis Conference of 2009 and drawn from the Conference Journal, which is available in hard copy, but not online.

I also intend to include reference to Dr David Caldicott's unpublished research into the Australian Entheogenic community, the raw data for which can be found here:

Finally, I propose to include reference to the Entheogenisis Australis conferences, of which seven have taken place in Australia since 2003. MysticNorth2010 (talk) 09:22, 1 March 2010 (UTC)

Sounds interesting. I just left a welcome message on your talk page with links to Wikipedia's policies and guidelines. You may want to take a look or not. We can't really use raw, unpublished data unless we are quoting it without interpretation and it is discussed or referenced in published sources. Otherwise, we run the risk of engaging in original research. Let me know how I can help. Viriditas (talk) 09:45, 1 March 2010 (UTC)


Is the theo of entheogen the God of monotheism?
Use of God in the article seems to imply that it is
Perhaps enspirigen would be more appropriate
Spirits can be demons as well as gods, and the same spirit might be experienced in different ways be different people, or in different ways by the same person at different times
Laurel Bush (talk) 15:30, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

The term, derived from Greek, seems to be inclusive of all divinity. The Wikipedia community cannot suggest a new term; it would have to be developed and acquired over time by scholars or the public. --Notmyhandle (talk) 16:47, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Not sure where you are going with this, Laurel. I think you are taking this way too literally. Viriditas (talk) 20:11, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

Maybe this is basically meaningless
Laurel Bush (talk) 10:55, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

Quit trolling. --Notmyhandle (talk) 20:31, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

I am finding the article's language practically unintelligible (perhaps because supposed authorities have not thought clearly enough about their own work) I was hoping for some clarification
But perhaps expecting intelligible language on anything drug related is a bit silly
Laurel Bush (talk) 10:02, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

So revise it, or bring up specific sentences/sections that require clarification. --Notmyhandle (talk) 17:45, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Laurel, I understand where you are coming from, but it also appears you are bringing preconceptions to this article. For example, you ask whether the "God" of the entheogen experience is the God of monotheism. I think the issue here, is that you appear to believe (correct me if I'm wrong) that "God" exists outside of you in some kind of physical manifestation. I don't believe that the article takes this point of view or even defines "God" in that way. People too often get hung up on words rather than what the words are actually pointing to. Instead of trying to make this article conform to your own perceptual belief structure (reality tunnel), try to understand and deal with it on its own terms. That way, you can bring in other perspectives, such as "What do Christian scholars believe in regards to entheogens?" and represent their opinions with good sources. Viriditas (talk) 04:25, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

Seems to me that it is the article which is using a particular sense of the term "God", perhaps as represented by your contribution above, while excluding others, such as you seem to believe to be held by "Christian scholars"
Laurel Bush (talk) 17:25, 11 May 2010 (UTC).

In that case, which sources on the topic should I review to resolve this problem? Please be specific. Viriditas (talk) 19:06, 11 May 2010 (UTC)

The issue isn't easily identifiable/solvable. The word theo comes from Greek, in which it means god (deity), not "God." In spirituality and shamanism, god seems to typically refer to all that is, which is similar to the Christian God, but typically without a figure; a type of materialistic monism. This is important because I think the guys who created the term entheogen did so with that "essence" idea in mind. Entheogen is to absorb and feel "god," but since they don't give context, it could be any god, I think. Like, Christians could start to use entheogens as sacrament and use it to feel their God. It's even more convoluted when you look at quotes like "that which causes God to be within an individual" referring to the definition of entheogen. Is it really "God" or did they mean "god?" I am now thoroughly confused, and perhaps have misinterpreted the use of the word. I think the guys defining it did a really poor job. --Notmyhandle (talk) 00:37, 12 May 2010 (UTC)

Sounds like you are getting hung up on the words instead of what the words are pointing to. Don't mistake the pointing finger for the moon. The word "God" or "god" is just that, a word. It is totally unimportant. What is important is what it is pointing to, and this is, unfortunately, beyond language. This is the reason that the greatest lectures in Buddhism involve simply the picking of a flower or the banging of a hand upon a lectern. Viriditas (talk) 07:59, 12 May 2010 (UTC)

Viriditas has raised the issue of ‘where I am coming from’
Perhaps the following gives some impression:

I was relaxing one evening after taking what was, for me, an unusually high dose of a particular opiate, prescribed for pain relief
As I relaxed, I pondered on feelings about something said concerning a former president of the United States, on a BBC Radio 4 programme earlier that evening, and my pondering had a quality I attribute to the opiate
It seemed the former president had claimed that, as president, he had sent his country to war against the forces of another head of state, the president of Iraq, with the explicit approval of a being called God, and my pondering went somewhat as follows:
I felt a capacity to believe the former president's claim, not in terms used by the claimant, but as expressed above, using the expression a being called God instead of God
I could believe that he did indeed have communion with a spirit of that name, and that this spirit had told him to start the war
I did not therefore believe the war to be good or just
At the same time, I could hold a second belief, which seems to require no underpinning of belief in communion with any God, or in any spirit which might take that name, but I felt more comfortable with the first belief
The second belief is that the former president is insane, and dangerously so

Laurel Bush (talk) 09:41, 12 May 2010 (UTC)

Laurel, have you read the article on Claude AnShin Thomas? He argues that war doesn't come from one man or head of state, but is a collective expression of our own aggression. In other words, if we were at peace with ourselves, there would be no war, it would simply be unthinkable, like human sacrifice, cannibalism, or slavery - all of which were quite common at one time, and beyond question. The thing is, to end war, we have to own up to this aggression and recognize the war at war within ourselves first. So, the only way to end war, is to become peaceful in everything we do as individuals. I spent a lot of time studying the hippies on Wikipedia, and I helped contribute to the article here. One thing I was surprised to learn was how violent the peace and anti-war movement was - not necessarily in action or physical means, but in their words and in the treatment of veterans. I think if they had truly welcomed the soldiers back from Vietnam with open arms and treated them with respect and understanding, the war would have ended much earlier. Viriditas (talk) 10:16, 12 May 2010 (UTC)

I was not trying to make any point about causes of war
I was trying to say something about use of the term God by a former US president, and others (including creators of the Entheogen article), and how we might interpret its use
It seems to me that the term is very frequently used without essential qualification
To me it is a name, like Allah, which might be applied to, or taken by, any spirit, be it god, demon or whatever
The former president’s God-named spirit seems to me to be some sort of demon, but others might see it differently
Laurel Bush (talk) 09:46, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

Laurel, you may be interested in listening/watching Ajahn Brahm speak on a similar issue, in his talk about Buddhism and Atheism. You'll discover in that talk, that one popular definition of "God" could very well match a "Non-God" definition or classification. It might be confusing at first, but Brahm explains it perfectly. Words don't mean much without understanding the experience behind them. Viriditas (talk) 09:56, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

Thanks, but I am not here, on this page, to find directions to a personal spiritual authority
I am here for much the same reason I have been on the talk page of the Self medication article
Until I did some work on it myself, the introduction to that article implied that in all contexts self medication is a psychiatric label
I am seeing a similar problem with the Entheogen article’s use of both entheogen and God
Entheogen seems to have now usage with meaning which is much broader or diverse than that assumed in the article, and, similarly, God has broader or more diverse meaning
Thus the article seems to be presenting a belief structure as if it were objective fact, as had been the case with the Self medication article
The bulk of the latter article, however, is still expression of the belief structure (which I find muddled, incoherent and unintelligible)
Laurel Bush (talk) 11:24, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

Brahm doesn't speak a word about "a personal spiritual authority" (probably because he doesn't believe in one) other than that of the individual (hint, hint), but he does directly and succinctly address your question about the qualification of the term "God", which is why I recommended him as a source to you. He also happens to give one of the best descriptions I've ever heard, so sadly, it's your loss. Other than that, I'm not sure how I can address your points. Perhaps you might wish to criticize the article directly this time, instead of bringing up the religious preferences of a U.S. president? You originally asked if entheogen referred to the God of monotheism, but I think you are asking the wrong questions. That's like asking if chocolate tastes like snizzlesnogglepuss. Unless you've actually tasted snizzlesnogglepuss, the question can't be answered. The reason I asked you to listen to Brahm is because he explains, in one of many examples along this line of thinking, that your conception of the "God of monothesism" is no different than his conception of words like kindness, happiness, peace, and love. The question must be asked, is there something in this article that makes you think of the God of monotheism when you read about entheogens? And, as I answered before, I'll answer again: You are bringing your own interpretation of God to the table here. And, if you wish to pursue this, you will begin doing research on what religious scholars have to say on the subject. I gave you that response approximately one week ago. Why are we still stuck on this same topic? Is there something more that needs to be said? If there is more criticism, please raise it, as I would be happy to contribute to a rewrite of this article. Viriditas (talk) 11:43, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

You seem unwilling to accept any criticism
Looks like I will just have start making referenced additions to List of entheogens
Laurel Bush (talk) 13:54, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

I am willing to accept criticism when it is actually offered. What have you criticized? Is there something that needs to be fixed or rewritten? Then, please, point it out. Also, please make sure your next comment on this discussion page, pertains only to the content of this article. Thanks. Viriditas (talk) 14:08, 13 May 2010 (UTC)
Laurel is pointing out that the scope of the article is beyond the scope of the definition of entheogen, as far as I understand. --Notmyhandle (talk) 21:09, 13 May 2010 (UTC)
I don't see that, so perhaps you could explain. The scope is defined in the header. The article certainly needs work and improvement, but specific criticisms are required to complete such a task. General complaints about the definition of god or God are beyond the scope of this article, but could possibly include them if Laurel does the research. Viriditas (talk) 21:53, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

My point is rather that the subject entheogen is broader than the scope of the article, which seems to be about a particular doctrine of entheogen definition and use, without the source of that particular doctrine being made explicit
Hence my comparison with the Self medication article
Viriditas, however, seems to have too much emotional interest vested in the doctrine to be able to begin to see this point, and tends therefore to respond to criticism with references to 'authorities' whose opinions he considers consistent with and persuasive about the doctrine
Laurel Bush (talk) 11:45, 15 May 2010 (UTC)

The scope is defined in the heading, Laurel: "This entry covers psychoactive substances used in a religious context.". What exactly and specifically are you criticizing about the article, Laurel? Please avoid commenting on the editor and address the content in your reply. Looking forward to reading your criticism and helping to improve the article... Viriditas (talk) 19:55, 15 May 2010 (UTC)

I note spiritual drug use redirects here, thus implying that all such drug use must be god related
Gods are not the only spirits, and I consider my own opium use to be spiritual and definitely not god related
See also Talk:Spiritual drug use
Laurel Bush (talk) 09:35, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

Facepalm Facepalm "God inside us" does not imply "God" is outside of us, nor does it define the concept of "God" in any way. You are playing games with words again, Laurel. When you get down and dirty with it, you have to go to the place where words can't go. Can you do that? This has been pointed out to you before, Laurel. You are trying to impose duality on nonduality, and that way lies madness. Viriditas (talk) 10:45, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

Am I playing with words, or does Veriditas have a very narrow concept of spirituality?
A god may be a spirit, but a spirit (for example mine or Veriditas’ or that of a tree in my garden) is not therefore a god
Thus a theology may be spiritual, but a spirituality (or ‘spiritology’) is not therefore a theology
Likewise entheogenic drug use may be spiritual, but spiritual (or ‘enspirigenic’) drug use is not therefore entheogenic (and may be very devilish)
Because there is no article about spiritual drug use in general, Spiritual drug use should redirect to Spirituality
Perhaps, however, Veriditas would like to have Spirituality redirecting to Theology
Laurel Bush (talk) 14:52, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

Neti neti. The narrow concept of spirituality has been perfectly described by yourself, Laurel. We've already been down this path in previous discussions. Frankly, I am entirely unconvinced by your arguments. Perhaps you could try rewording it, but again, you are imposing a narrow, literal definition of what spiritual drug use does or does not entail on a topic that is broad and nonliteral. This has been explained to you over and over again. Your position that entheogenic drug use entails the divining of actual spiritual entities may have a scintilla of validity to it when one looks at anecdotal reports regarding the use of substances like ayahuasca and Salvia divinorum. But you seem to be confusing popular anecdotes about psychoactive drug use with your own personal religious definitions. Bring some reliable sources to the table and we'll talk, otherwise there's nothing to do or see here. Viriditas (talk) 03:18, 22 April 2011 (UTC)
Laurel, you definitely seem to be imposing preconceived definitions on the word "god". There is no direct correlation between "god" (Theo) and Yahweh. The former is a word that has been used to describe the class of beings that contain Zeus, Thoth, and all the rest. It is a very, VERY loose word that accepts all manner of river spirits, pantheon-specific deities, dryads, etc. Most of the substances used here are known for a sense of boundary dissolution, and feeling of connectedness with everything else. Thus, "Entheogen". - Anonymous Coward who happened to land here and read this "argument". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:18, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

Citation needed

Peyote has been used by people of the Oshara Tradition for thousands of years.

I very much doubt this can be supported with a reliable source. Viriditas (talk) 09:24, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
It's a statement from the Peyote page, I've now copied the citation as well. --Notmyhandle (talk) 18:21, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
Thanks. Those sources say plant samples found in caves were dated to about ~5700 years ago. Can we say more than that? Viriditas (talk) 21:23, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
This article cites a source that seems to expand upon the idea, but is not found through Google. --Notmyhandle (talk) 21:51, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
I don't think these extra citations help. My concern is that ritual peyote use, at least in North America, wasn't recorded until the late 19th century. True, we have archaeological evidence suggesting ancient use in Mexico (and a cave find in Texas) but we need to make this statement in the appropriate context with accurate wording. We don't really know if the people of the Oshara Tradition used peyote for thousands of years. What we do know, is that they likely used it based on archaeological relics and finds. Viriditas (talk) 22:58, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
I agree. Make the necessary changes and I'll pat you on the back. --Notmyhandle (talk) 23:35, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
First, I'll take a look at some of the recent literature from 2005. I had not seen it before. Viriditas (talk)

Although in practice the two cover much different topics, in the page names at least, both the Religion and drugs page and this Entheogens page both cover the same topic. I propose they somehow be merged.--makeswell 23:50, 25 June 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Makeswell (talkcontribs)

There is certainly an overlap, but on the one hand, religion and drugs is a subset of the history of religion, whereas entheogen is a subset of the history of drug use, so they could be viewed as two distinct topics. It's hard to say what needs to be done at this point, but I agree, we need to consider doing something. Viriditas (talk) 05:16, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
These have some minor overlap but are entirely different topics. Each article should be expanded. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:48, 30 July 2013 (UTC)

Demonstrated scientifically

The article says "Spiritual effects of psychedelic compounds have been demonstrated scientifically" by an experiment in which drugged students reported religious experiences. As the paper puts it, "the experience facilitated by psychedelic drugs, such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline, can be similar or identical to the experience described by the mystics of all ages, cultures, and religions". But does "Spiritual" mean from beyond the physical world, or only a perception of coming from beyond the physical world? The former is how the article's sentence is most likely to be interpreted, but the latter is what was "demonstrated scientifically". It makes a difference. Educated materialists know that people often believe they have encountered a non-physical world when they are drugged, dreaming or dying, but materialists attribute such experiences to brain chemistry, not spirits; one more such experience wouldn't prove anything to them. So should it say "Effects of psychedelic compounds that are reported as religious have been demonstrated scientifically"? Art LaPella (talk) 19:59, 26 November 2010 (UTC)

"Spiritual" in this context does not mean "beyond the physical world"; it actually means quite the opposite, as in no separation from the physical world, i.e. being in and of the world at the same time. The hallmark of this experience is what is often described as a loss of ego identity and the feeling of oneness, like a drop of rain merging into the ocean, or a fetus in the womb where there is no separation between child and mother; the word communion is often used to describe this experience. The confusion over terms like spiritual versus the physical world as you call it, stems from the hidden nature of the oneness that is revealed by the entheogenic experience or other spiritual practices. We like to call these things "spiritual" (a silly term) only because as a society, we haven't accepted that the way we see our personal identity as separate from others is false and yet necessary. Other ways of expressing this type of spirituality include pantheism and cosmic consciousness. While it is certainly true that brain chemistry acts as a catalyst for this experience, insight is only achieved through the emergent realization of ones relationship to things inside and outside of ones own mind, hence the term psychedelic, or "mind manifesting". It should be stressed that one does not need any drugs to get to this point, and many, many people get there without ever taking them. It is essentially the difference between sudden and gradual awakening. Scientific skeptics like Sam Harris (see Sam Harris (author)#Spirituality) understand the importance of exploring and encouraging these spiritual values without needing or requiring religion of any kind. Viriditas (talk) 11:14, 25 December 2010 (UTC)
Although quite possibly valid information from a "truth" perspective, this is hardly information that would help in improving the present article, and I would suggest it rather impinges on WP:NOTAFORUM. __meco (talk) 13:05, 25 December 2010 (UTC)
I've changed the phrasing to more accurately reflect the relevant findings. ˉˉanetode╦╩ 14:03, 3 February 2011 (UTC)

"Citation needed" in Literature

I am afraid that I do not understand why citations are needed when dealing with fictional literature. The author of the article clearly put in the title and author of the book. I can understand why a citation is needed when a thought is put forth as fact in the real world, but not in fiction, again, the title of the book and author should be citation enough. In my way of thinking this is not scholarly nor helpful, it is just plain pedantry. Katmandan (talk) 21:26, 11 June 2011 (UTC)

perhaps I'm wrong, but the rationale seems to be that we should be referring to a secondary source that discusses the literature in the manner stated, otherwise it's WP:OR. At the very least a page number would be useful, for example, we read: "Control of the supply of melange was crucial to the Empire, as it was necessary for, among other things, faster than light navigation." says who? if one has read Dune, one knows this is true, if not, how does one confirm the factuality of this statement? telling the reader where to look in Dune would maybe be a start, but a secondary source that provides an overview of the Dune universe and mentions this would be better still. --Semitransgenic (talk) 21:41, 11 June 2011 (UTC)
Citations are necessary for us to keep the pages of Wikipedia factually accurate. If the author of that reference to dune was incorrect, then we would be providing incorrect information about Dune. Using a quote from the book would be easiest, but a secondary source is adequate as well. --Notmyhandle (talk) 19:38, 13 June 2011 (UTC)

Archaeological record

Although the Archaeological Record Section is obviously very incomplete, I just added a link to an article that invokes elements of the archaeological, mythological and linguistic record to support its assertion that the Venus of Hohle Fels was sculpted to personify the developmental stage of an Amanita as the mushroom's, pregnant mother giving birth to the mature mushroom. In addition, I added a bit to the description of the Tassili glyphs, and the Scythian use of kannibis aka marijuana. Berlant (talk) 12:46, 8 July 2011 (UTC)Berlant

Regarding the "cave painting of a man with bee-like features covered with mushrooms, dating to 8000 BP" in Tassili n'Ajjer, can you confirm that no evidence—aside from the cave paintings—has ever been found verifying mushroom use in this area, presumably due to climate change which has altered the landscape? Viriditas (talk) 14:20, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

What evidence of mushroom use in this region -- other than cave paintings, petroglyphs, or monuments -- could have survived for over 2000 years?

OTOH, a great deal of evidence suggests that 1) Egyptian culture arose from the pastoralist cultures that populated the Sahara before it was desertified, and 2) Egyptian religion revolved to an extraordinary extent around the ingestion of Psilocybes that grew on the manure that ruminants were depositing in those pre-Saharan pastures. So, there are, in the opinion of many, adequate reasons for believing that the mushroom-like objects in the Tassili paintings are exactly what they appear to be Berlant (talk) 11:35, 9 July 2011 (UTC)Berlant

Dennis McKenna's late brother Terence suggested that the spores could very well have survived and might be found at Tassili with the right equipment. He also said that no scientist has ever attempted to look because the area is off limits (due to political reasons) to most, if not all, researchers. Viriditas (talk) 11:43, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

I didn't think of that, perhaps because I assumed that finding mushroom spores embedded in a 2000+ year old strata would be harder than looking for a needle in a haystack for even the most adept palynologists. This is especially true considering the fact that we don't really know whether the people who made these drawings were ingesting or, perhaps even, cultivating their mushrooms in or outside these caves, where the mushrooms were growing naturally. I suppose, however, that if entheo-mycologists and entheo-archaeologists were given the chance to investigate these sites in depth, one or more of them could come up with some astounding finds that the "authorities' don't want found for reasons you, I and most of the people who have contributed to this entry are already aware of. Take care and keep up the good work, Viriditas Berlant (talk) 14:46, 10 July 2011 (UTC)Berlant

Incoherent introduction

The first two sentences of the article read as follows:

"An entheogen ("generating the divine within") is a psychoactive substance used in a religious, shamanic, or spiritual context. With the advent of organic chemistry, there now exist many synthetic substances with similar psychoactive properties, many derived from these plants."

But "these plants" has no antecedent reference to any plants whatsoever. This should be fixed (by someone more knowledgeable than I).Daqu (talk) 04:00, 16 July 2012 (UTC)

AFAICT, "these plants" refers to the assumption that psychoactive substances are found in entheogenic plants. But, you're right, the lead is terrible. Viriditas (talk) 04:11, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
The reason I mentioned "someone more knowledgeable" is not that I didn't catch the intended meaning of the poorly written passage; I did. Rather, I don't know whether entheogens are generally defined as plant substances or can be more general than that.Daqu (talk) 13:25, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Erowid uses the term "plants and drugs" to include both. Viriditas (talk) 02:40, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
I confess to be more persuaded by the fact that the online O.E.D. agrees with Erowid, defining entheogen as "A psychoactive substance which is used in a religious ritual or to bring about a spiritual experience, typically a plant or fungal extract; (more widely) any hallucinogenic drug".
Personally I prefer just the part before the semicolon (which allows for non-plant substances), because the term was coined -- in 1979 -- in terms of its roots, which mean "something that evokes the divine". Or maybe better, as the article says, "generating the divine within".Daqu (talk) 06:59, 27 July 2012 (UTC)

The word "God" redux

I didn't want to be caught up in a previous discussion; hence the new section. But that discussion inspired me to find the original article where the word "entheogen" was coined. After it discussed why then-existing terms were unsuitable, its last paragraph reads as follows:

"We therefore, propose a new term that would be appropriate for describing states of shamanic and ecstatic possession induced by ingestion of mind-altering drugs. In Greek the word entheos means literally “god (theos) within,” and was used to describe the condition that follows when one is inspired and possessed by the god that has entered one’s body. It was applied to prophetic seizures, erotic passion and artistic creation, as well as to those religious rites in which mystical states were experienced through the ingestion of substances that were transubstantial with the deity. In combination with the Greek root gen-, which denotes the action of “becoming,” this word results in the term that we are proposing: entheogen. Our word sits easily on the tongue and seems quite natural in English. We could speak of entheogens or, in an adjectival form, of entheogenic plants or substances. In a strict sense, only those vision-producing drugs that can be shown to have figured in shamanic or religious rites would be designated entheogens, but in a looser sense, the term could also be applied to other drugs, both natural and artificial, that induce alterations of consciousness similar to those documented for ritual ingestion of traditional entheogens."

Because those coining the term chose not to use the capitalized word "God", I feel that it is inappropriate to use the capitalized term in explaining what the etymology of the word is.

Although there is no universal agreement on the precise definition of the capitalized word, it carries connotations, for a huge number of people, that are much more specific than the far less specific terms "god" or "the divine". The capitalized "God" means, to many people, the Judaeo-Christian deity. Above all, even if this is not the case, almost everyone who uses the term understands it to mean the unique being having a certain description. There is no reason whatsoever to think that this is what Ruck, Bigwood, Staples, Ott, and Wasson had in mind.

I find it utterly absurd for anyone to say in effect "Let's not get all hung up on words here," when words, far more than anything else, are what make up Wikipedia. It is essential to choose them, if at all possible, so as to avoid conveying a meaning that will mislead many people.Daqu (talk) 07:49, 27 July 2012 (UTC)

Words aren't used literally, they are defined by their usage. The literal meaning is important for understanding etymology but does not define the word outside of its context of use. The context of psychedelic drug use was often illicit, recreational, and according to authorities, irresponsible and reckless. The coining of the term entheogen was an attempt to take back and recapture the sacred context that was lost and to reclaim the ethical and moral context of altering consciousness. When you get to that point, the realization that you discover and recognize, is that words limit the experience and narrowly imprison it within language. And when you see that for the first time, you realize that language can only point to the experience, it can never define it. This is the reason the senses become heightened, you become aware that language is a recent adaptation. As for Wikipedia, it is, believe it or not, much more than words. What are the words pointing to? Images, photographs, videos, music, structures, nature, thoughts, experiences. These things are not words and the words are not these things. Viriditas (talk) 08:51, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure there's any point in continuing this discussion, since you completely ignored my point: that the words used in the definition(s) of "entheogen" in Wikipedia have to be chosen carefully. Nothing you wrote is remotely relevant to that point.
Indeed, words are defined by how they are used. But all your words don't change the fact that the word "entheogen" is used by many people with a concept of god that does not coincide with (and is in many cases quite different from) what other people mean by capitalized "God". It is also true that for many people, their concept of god —insofar as they attribute to it a non-mythical meaning — is in fact included the range of meanings that the capitalized word "God" has.
Conclusion: Any definition of "entheogen" adequate for Wikipedia should not artificially limit the word's meaning to what only a particular subset of people take it to mean. Instead, an appropriate definition will include all the not-exactly-the-same meanings that people use it for. Hence "God" should not be part of the definition (unless it is used only to emphasize that that is one of the meanings people attribute to "god").
And finally, it is ridiculous to think that [what words are pointing to] is separate from [the concept of what words are]. Of course what words are pointing to is included in what the word "word" means — a concept or concepts represented by sound(s) and by symbol(s). That goes without saying.Daqu (talk) 05:44, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
Interestingly, what you consider "ridiculous" I consider the substrate of reality. Not only is what words are pointing to very different than what words are, that's the entire point–a point you evidently missed or choose to ignore. A concept of a thing is not the thing, and it is not "included" in the word describing the thing. In the example of the word "god" or "God", the word is all but meaningless, nor can you prove that the thing it represents exists outside your mind nor the symbol you claim represents the image in your mind. In other words, all definitions are artificial, so your argument is unreasonable. Viriditas (talk) 07:32, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
I will make my last comment in this debate: No one who thinks words are meaningless should be editing Wikipedia.Daqu (talk) 21:03, 1 August 2012 (UTC)
How does a finger pointing at the Moon have meaning? Words have meaning only in the mind. The word "Moon" has as much meaning as my finger pointing to it. Viriditas (talk) 00:22, 2 August 2012 (UTC)